Consultant Michelle Mowat wasn’t sure how much she could say about zinc, because she had never really considered why it might be beneficial. “Full disclosure: when I was first asked to write about this topic, my initial thought was, 'I have no idea why zinc is good for the skin.' All I knew was that it was great for protecting skin from sunburn, and that it was helpful for diaper rash. What else was I going to talk about? But you know what? I found out that zinc is AMAZING!”
Zinc is considered a “trace mineral,” and this is because your body needs just a small amount of it every day — but did you know that it is in EVERY SINGLE CELL of your body? There are actually over 100 different enzymes in your body that need to have zinc in order to function!
- Your immune system function properly (it even helps treat the common cold!)
- Treat diarrhea
- Aid in learning and memory
- Repair wounds
- Fight age-related chronic disease
- Reduce inflammation
- Prevent cellular damage in the retina
- Treat ADHD
- Improve blemishes
- Fight osteoporosis
Skin cells are especially dependent on zinc; your top layer of skin can have up to SIX TIMES more of this trace mineral than the rest of the skin. Zinc can help internally by protecting your skin from free radicals, is great at healing your skin from cuts and protects from infection. It can even prevent your pores from clogging in the first place — so taking zinc internally can actually help with acne-prone skin! (Note: make sure you talk to your doctor and get your zinc levels tested before taking a supplement internally.)
But zinc is also good to apply externally, which is why it is so helpful in our products like the Sunscreen Lippy, Unscented Sunscreen Lotion Bar, Sunscreen Lotion Bar, our Bug Bar, and even in our brand new Kaolin Clay Paste.
So yes, as mentioned above, zinc in the form of zinc oxide does help protect your skin from sunburn. The reason is that it actually creates a barrier — it literally stops the UV rays from even getting to your skin. Most chemical sunscreens you buy at the store filter out the bad rays from the good instead of stopping the rays entirely.
And of course we have to talk about using zinc oxide as a diaper rash cream. It may also be helpful for treating hemorrhoids and even cold sores. Some zinc believers have even found relief from their irritated skin, maybe from eczema and psoriasis. The reason is because zinc has not only anti-inflammatory properties when taken internally, but it also helps with external inflammation. By putting zinc on sores or rashes you will notice the redness and inflammation go down, and it can actually help your cells get better FASTER because of the immune system boost it provides! This lessens the severity of the rash or sore.
The same can be said about zinc’s effects on blemishes. In addition to the reduction in redness and inflammation, zinc can help stop the bacteria on the skin that causes pimples. It can also minimize the amount of oil your skin is producing, which can help with those pesky breakouts! This is another reason why so many people are going crazy about our new Kaolin Clay Paste. It can take up to 3 months to notice a difference, so don’t give up too soon!
If you’d like to read more about zinc, check out these helpful references: